Gyanchand looked at the great grandfather clock on the wall. It struck nine. Damn! He was going to be late again to reach his shop. He still had to travel at least 20 minutes by bus to reach his workplace; that is, if luckily he got an early bus and there was no traffic jam. His wife always called him a fool for keeping a shop so far away from home. He knew she was right, but he wouldn’t admit that over his dead body.
Hurriedly he put on his chappals and was about to leave when his wife’s sharp voice stopped him in his tracks.
“There! You have forgotten the shop keys and the wallet again. How many times do I have to remind you? Keep the wallet in the front pocket, not in the back pocket and BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS!” Gyanchand muttered something about ‘nagging wives’, picked up the keys and kept the wallet in the back pocket!
Panting he reached the bus stop. There he realized that he had forgotten his watch at home. Oh Hell! He knew he was in for a big lecture from his wife when he reached home but he would worry about that later. He looked at the man standing before him. He was well dressed and seemed to be decent &dignified. Gyanchand smiled and asked him:
Excuse me, could you please tell me what the time is?
The man started and looked suspiciously at him. “9.30”, he said gruffly and turned away. Puzzled ,Gyanchand tried to talk to him but the man wouldn’t budge. “I hope the bus comes early.I have to reach my shop : GYANCHAND ELECTRICAL GOODS & APPLIANCES .”
Hearing this, the man seemed to relax a bit. “So”, he said ,”You are the owner of a shop. Then you, like me, are from the educated and hard-working lot. Sorry for being rude. But there are so many pickpockets masquerading as decent men that you really don’t know whom to trust!”.”Yes”, agreed Gyanchand readily. “This business has become rampant but no one has ever managed to loot me. My wallet is always safe in my back pocket .”
They talked for some time, then an empty bus came. People rushed to enter the bus. Somehow, in the hustle-bustle, Gyanchand managed to enter the bus. All the seats were taken but he got to stand comfortably. The bus started and he turned around to see if the man had also boarded the same bus. However he was nowhere to be seen. Gyanchand shrugged off his shoulders and turned towards the conductor who was asking him for the ticket.”One Dadar T.T. please ”,Gyanchand said and reached for his wallet . But when he put his hand inside his back pocket, the colour drained from his face.
The wallet was gone.